Friday, October 16, 2009
Concord Authors Festival – a sampling of events for all tastes
Local book lovers rejoice at the first sign of fall, because that means that the Concord Festival of Authors is imminent. For 16 years now, the Festival has brought the brightest of literary lights to the Concord area in late October for speeches, discussions and demonstrations. Over the years, renowned authors who have participated have included Jonathan Kozol, David Halberstam, Dennis Lehane, Augusten Burroughs, E.L. Doctorow and Sebastian Junger.
According to founder Rob Mitchell, who hosts WBNW’s weekly author interview show “Pages to People,” the Festival takes great pleasure in introducing “new and emerging authors to its audiences. Inaugurated in 1997, the ‘New Literary Voices’ has featured first novelists such as Tom Perrotta, Sena Jeter Naslund, Matthew Pearl and Jennifer Haigh. In 1995, one of the Festival’s three opening-night speakers was a relatively unknown writer named Barack Obama.”
Following in these illustrious footsteps, this year’s opening speaker will be Howard Dean, speaking on Wednesday, October 21, at 2:30 p.m. at the Emerson Umbrella in Concord. Dean’s book, You Have the Power: How to Take Back Our Country and Restore Democracy to America, explains what it will take to achieve real healthcare reform and takes on the wave of misinformation that has shaped the debate.
The Festival strives to provide a little something for every reader over the two weeks that it runs. If you are into cooking, there is a “Chef Fest,” featuring Chef Peter Davis of Henrietta’s Table and Chef Steve Johnson of Rendezvous, who will be offering a mouth-watering food- tasting as well as signing books. If that is not tempting enough, Clara Silverstein, author of The Boston Chef’s Table, Catherine Walthers, author of Raising the Salad Bar and Lisa Zwirn, author of Christmas Cookies, will also be in attendance. This scrumptious gathering will take place on Saturday, October 24, at noon at Verrill Farm in Concord.
Interested in history? Listen to a “Conversation about Race” between Larry Tye, author of Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend, and Dick Lehr, author of The Fence: A Police Cover-up Along Boston’s Racial Divide on Monday, October 26, at Concord’s Trinitarian Congregational Church at 7:30 p.m. Or learn about The Faithful: A History of Catholics in America, written by James M. O’Toole, Clough Millenium Chair in History at Boston College. Or you can discover more about the Civil Rights Generation when Andrew B. Lewis discusses his latest book, The Shadows of Youth, on Thursday, October 29, at 7:30 p.m. at the Concord Museum.
Be on the cutting edge of a publishing revolution when you go hear Gregory Maguire speak about his new novel, The Next Queen of Heaven, to be published by the Concord Free Press. The Concord Free Press doesn’t sell books; it gives them away. All they ask is that their readers make a donation to a “charity or someone in need, and pass the books along to others.” The Concord Bookshop will host Maguire on Thursday, October 22, at 7 p.m.
Living green, including children
Is green your favorite color these days? There are a handful of events designed to help save the planet. The Thoreau Farm Trust will present Linda Booth Sweeney telling tales of wisdom
for a small planet. Designed for parent-child pairs (ages five and up), this event will offer attendees the chance to hear how we can live sustainably through the wisdom of timeless folk-tales on Sunday, October 25, at 2 p.m. at Thoreau’s Farm in Concord. The Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods will host a discussion of Thoreau’s The Maine Woods on Thursday, November 5, at 7:30 p.m. The following day, John Wargo, professor of environmental policy at Yale, will talk about his new book, Green Intelligence: Creating Environments That Protect Human Health, at 7 p.m. at Wannalancit Mills, UMass Lowell.
The Festival has always been a bountiful treat for mystery lovers. Just in time for Halloween, mystery authors and their fans will congregate at the Concord Library on October 30 at 7:30 p.m. Thomas Cook will read from his missing persons puzzler, The Fate of Katherine Carr and Katherine Hall Page continues her series of mysteries with The Body in the Sleigh, which deals with murder and mayhem in Maine at Christmastime.
Red Sox mystery
Fans of the Red Sox may have to wait until next year, but they can indulge their passions for their team this fall with Dirty Water: A Red Sox Mystery. Written by the mother-son pair Mary-Ann Tirone Smith and Jere Smith, this book is the first in a series that will involve the team in devious doings.
Just as mysterious are the family issues uncovered in Jill Hunting’s Finding Pete: Rediscovering the Brother I Lost in Vietnam. Hunting’s brother was one of the first civilian casualties in the Vietnam War and his disappearance, just a few days after her 15th birthday, set the stage for this memoir of a lifesaving search for answers. She will speak on Tuesday, November 3, at 7:30 p.m. at Kerem Shalom on Elm Street in Concord.
This is just a taste of what the two-week Festival has to offer. Check out www.ConcordFestivalofAuthors.org for more information on children’s programs, the annual Breakfast with Authors, and many other happenings. These events are free (except for the Breakfast with Authors) and all authors will sign their books which, by the way, make wonderful holiday gifts. All these fascinating speakers and a chance to make a real dent in the holiday shopping list – what more could you ask for? ∆
© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito